What to expect from Apple’s big product launch event

All eyes will be on the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco Wednesday when Apple CEO Tim Cook unveils the tech giant’s latest offerings, expected to include upgraded iPhones, an enhanced Apple TV, and, potentially, a larger iPad.

“We are expecting a number of announcements and product launches with a larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro, next generation Apple TV, and the new iPhone 6s/6s+ front and center,” wrote FBR Capital Markets Managing Editor Daniel Ives, in a recent note.

The rumored iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are said to offer 12-megapixel rear-facing cameras, according to media reports, a significant upgrade on the 8-megapixel cameras on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The ability to shoot 4K video, which smartphone rival Samsung already offers, could also feature, along with front-facing LED flash technology for better selfies.

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Other potential iPhone enhancements include an upgraded A9 processor, a robust 7000 Series aluminum chassis, similar to the Apple Watch Sport, and ForceTouch technology. “Force Touch remains the key new feature; a pressure sensitive input beneath the users’ touchscreen adding a new dimension for shortcuts and gestures,” wrote Ives, in his note. “Force Touch debuted on Apple Watch and has since been integrated into Apple’s MacBook product line, leaving Apple well positioned to dazzle customers with the dynamic new feature unseen on competing smartphones.”

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    There has also been plenty of buzz around an improved Apple TV set-top box in the run-up to Wednesday’s event, it first major upgrade since 2012. Apple is expected to offer a universal search capability, which works with Siri, as well as a new remote with touchpad capabilities and motion control technology for gamers.

    Like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the new Apple TV is said to use an A8 processor, providing gamers with more processing power than the A5 chip used in the current version of the technology. An App Store for games may also be announced on Wednesday. By enhancing its set-top box, Apple is positioning Apple TV to compete more effectively with Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PS4.

    “I think the new Apple TV will be huge,” wrote Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research, in a blog post Tuesday, noting that the device’s significant gaming potential. “The biggest questions in my mind are how soon it will launch and therefore how much time developers will have to begin creating apps for it.”

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    Apple may also preview a TV streaming service on Wednesday, although re/code reports that it may not be available until 2016.

    The tech giant may also break with recent tradition by unveiling a new iPad at Wednesday’s San Francisco event. “Although typically refreshed in October, Apple also is expected to release a larger iPad Pro,” explained Ives. “We expect the larger iPad to target the enterprise market and could sport a pressure sensitive 12.9-inch ForceTouch display, Bluetooth stylus, upgraded processor and 2GB of RAM.”

    Apple’s largest iPad, the iPad Air 2, has a 9.7-inch diagonal screen, an A8X chip and 2GB of RAM.

    Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers